The Cornerstone Autism Center in Greenwood, Indiana is nestled just south of Indianapolis. There, a dedicated team of individuals strive to better the lives of children with autism. These great people provide the science and compassion to help those with autism and exude the drive to take these kiddos to their full potential.
An amazing aspect for parents is the feeling of Cornerstone being an extension of a family. Founders David and Debbie Ide, who have a child on the spectrum, know what it feels like to leave a child who has autism in the care of others. They know the benefits children get from going to Cornerstone and receiving caring, compassionate, and intensive ABA therapy.
Cornerstone is always going the extra mile to provide the best to families. Parent trainings to help families learn the basics of ABA, assistance with insurance companies, and even setting up a working barber shop to help children feel comfortable with getting their hair cut are part of the center. Cornerstone works diligently to set the stage for transition into a traditional school system when they’re ready.
Their continued success has led Cornerstone to double the size of their Greenwood center where some of the most qualified therapists in ABA can be seen high-fiving over great accomplishments while using the most sophisticated data collected system in the state to monitor their child’s progress.
They continue to look for ways to enhance without ever neglecting the underlying care and passion that the children deserve.
One reason Cornerstone has enjoyed such success…
Becky Thompson is the Center Manager at Greenwood. She is the first person parents meet when being introduced to the culture of Cornerstone. Becky also keeps families informed of parent and family events and assists the therapists and the principals with the day to the day operations at the center.
Jarrad: Becky, so first off, what are the day to day tasks you do at Cornerstone Autism Center?
Becky: What do I not do? That’s the wonderful and sometimes crazy thing about this job; I get to tackle what needs to be tackled. I had a quote on a post-it note I kept at my desk for the longest time, I have since memorized it, “If it’s not your job to do, perhaps it is your opportunity.” I’m answering phones and directing visitors, giving tours to prospective families, ordering supplies and the basic maintenance to keep the center running smoothly. I also get involved in troubleshooting laptops, copiers, and our camera systems. I help manage payroll and PTO requests, prepping and tracking staff birthdays and anniversary cards, making sure our new staff and families have what they need to start with us, any staff or parent communication (notices, reminders etc), and any travel arrangements for staff. Gosh, you name it I try to help out with it.
Jarrad: WOW! You do a lot! Do you have any kiddos of your own?
Becky: At home I have two kids, three dogs, a turtle, and a school of fish.
Jarrad: What are your kiddos like?
Becky: My oldest son has been musically inclined since he was four and is skilled at playing the piano, guitar and drums. Like most boys his age he loves electronics and has shown a lot of interest in computer programming of sorts. My daughter is an entertainer. She loves to dip into the dramatics on occasion which keeps us on our toes and laughing. She is an animal lover and would have her own Noah’s Ark if I let her. She also loves to create food in the kitchen. Other than helping out with dinner, she has come up with some interesting dishes, most being a random item covered with peanut butter or icing, sprinkled with candy and always lovingly dusted with sugar.
Jarrad: Lol! Well, you are the first person parents interact with. You give tours to families all the time. What are key points you want them to take away when they leave?
Becky: That Cornerstone employs a fantastic group of staff from clinical leads directly involved with the programming for clients, to insurance coordinators, to support staff, to the one-on-one therapists; we are all here to work with our families and give them the highest level of care possible. This company, and the culture our principals have created, truly is amazing and is impossible to recreate elsewhere.
Jarrad: Well put. You said you help the therapists do various things. What are some unique requests you’ve helped them with recently?
Becky: I would say I am most challenged when purchasing items for kids who are not reinforced by many things specifically. Brainstorming to find an item that may help with that child’s therapy is exciting and challenging in that we must think outside of the box.
Jarrad: People that work at Cornerstone have told me that being here changes them in a special way. Has working with the kiddos changed you in any special way that you can share?
Becky: I have absolutely been changed by the beautiful faces I get to see every day. I have been able to see amazing amounts of patience, unconditional support, and a strong belief and faith in what we can do here. Through families who share their lives with us, I’ve witnessed strength and undisputable love. Our staff is here to make a difference for that child and family, and yet it has such a domino effect back upon us. I am truly blessed to be just a small part of this big picture.
Jarrad: I agree that the families have a positive impact on our lives as well. You also help plan different events and get-togethers for clients and staff. What have been some of the fun and rewarding aspects of that, and what has been a challenge for you too?
Becky: Being able to assist Debbie with the Cornerstone events have been great fun! The fun: is always the event itself and seeing the staff enjoying themselves. The reward: once it is in full swing and being able to recognize staff, and especially our principals. The challenge: Lol! How Deb continues to out-do herself at every new event, lol.
Jarrad: Lol! Becky, why did you wish to be in this line of work?
Becky: Well, I moved to Indiana in 2001 and worked for a local Property Management group for about ten years. There was always something missing though. I had prayed, and wished, and dreamed to work with children in some means for a few years, but there always seemed to be an obstacle that came up. I remained patient, and when the time came I knew it would present itself to me. In 2010 I saw Cornerstone being constructed in the Polk Place building in Greenwood. I immediately checked them out online, contacted David, and toured the center.
Being a Center Manager here, supporting the hard working therapists and families is truly rewarding for me. If I am able to lighten someone’s load each day, then I have done my job. There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank my lucky stars for the kids that have touched my life, the families that I get to know, and the staff that are my adopted family.
Jarrad:You said you ‘prayed, and wished, and dreamed to work with children’ for years. What was it that made you feel so strongly?
Becky: I evaluated where my life and time would be better spent (and I could probably point a finger at Oprah too). I asked myself, “If I could do anything as a career, what would it be?”, and working with children was always at the top that list. Kids remind us all of the value of genuine excitement, truthfulness, innocence, unconditional friendship, and the value of time and patience.
So really Cornerstone had fulfilled my first dream by hiring me! I was more than willing to wait as long as I needed for the perfect job, and for me this is it. I get to work with children, have more time at home with my family, and play a role in a company whose mission is to change lives. Call me fulfilled.
January 7, 2013, cornerstoneac